We love stalking photos of Parisian and Milanese runways, but it just so happens that a lot of the brightest shining soles aren’t the ones name dropped during late night television, they’re crafted by names that are just starting their ascent into greatness.
Here’s a list of our favorite up & coming designers, burgeoning brands and impressive footwear designs that have caught our eye. Since we began compiling this list months ago, several designers are already that much closer to fashion stardom! Many have spotted their work in an upcoming September issue, graced the feet of Hollywood’s finest or even landed a coveted spot in the iconic Bergdorf Goodman window displays.
With internships at both Diane von Fürstenberg and Proenza Schouler under her belt, it isn’t surprising that the stunning shoes designed by Sarah Flint have a decidedly architectural bent. Adding a twist to classic designs, layered suede and shaped 3D leather are all a part of her impressive repertoire. As for us? We’re dying over her heeled Hayworth sandal.
Henri Lepore Dezert
You might remember Henri Lepore Dezert from our recent interview with the designer himself, but just in case you need reminding, he’s a man with his star on the rise. Unafraid of mixing antique embellishments and sentiments with ferociously confident modern day flair, his designs are classic, yet sensual; perfect for work and for play.
Blending traditional themes with high fashion touches (think: PVC detailing on a classic suede pump or metallic and textured thick heeled sandals), the punchy colored soles designed by Melis Paciotti for her brand Melis Yildiz are nothing short of show stoppers. Turkish born and Italy-based, elegance is met with vibrant sass with fabulous results.
Alejandra G. has one goal in mind: make an impact and make it big. The larger than life combinations of cherry red and leopard print, platform pumps and tassels, and snake print and studs just scratch the surface of the gotta-look-twice collections designed by the ever-fierce Alejandra. Slipping into a pair of these celebrity-endorsed sky-high heels will definitely make you the center of attention.
Nicolò Beretta is a luxury footwear wunderkind and his brand Giannico reveals this 18-year-old’s massive talent. Giannico’s collections take architectural embellishments and flair to an entirely new level, weaving 3D geometric shapes into dramatic curves and swerves that have been snapped for the pages of Vogue Italia and Marie Claire Italia. Endlessly creative and new to the game, we’re sold on Giannico’s eclectic elegance.
Contemporary, sleek, confident. In a nutshell, that is Gianluca Soldi, whose designs balance the razor’s edge or romantic and modern. After freelance shoe designing for little brands you might have heard of (Kenzo, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace to name a few), Gianluca started his own brand to fully encapsulate his vision. The result is sleek lines and vibrant color combinations, pin-thin heels and exotic skins, and we can’t get enough.
For every understated Sofia Coppola, there’s a Lady Gaga to balance her out. If Lauren Marinis is the Sofia in question, Giseli Diaz must be Gaga circa Pokerface. Her shoes are stratospheric in height, the patterns and colors are brighter than Oz, and there are enough rhinestone embellishments to make Elizabeth Taylor lose her cool. Fierce and unique, Giseli Diaz’ shoes make a bold statement.
You might think that sky-high 5 inch heels aren’t for everyone, but one glance at Lauren Marinis’ vibrant, unique, and undeniably elegant collection will change your mind in a heartbeat. Using iridescent greys, teal snakeskins, and dyed calf-hair to prove sophistication can be vibrant, luxury never looked so obtainable. Her pumps will fill you with confidence and make you look like you have legs that go on for months, what more could you possibly want in a killer pair of shoes? Excuse us, we’re swooning over here.
Chloe Gosselin has stated that music, vintage aesthetics, and visual arts deeply inspire her collections and the resulting dark romance of her shoes is palpable – every design in her fall 2014 collection was named after a poisonous flower, after all – and yet, she never loses a sense of deep-rooted luxury or sophistication. Every discrete detail and hint of snakeskin belie an adoration of immaculate quality that would be at home on any cobblestoned Parisian street, and that sense of easy chic is priceless.
With a keen eye for detail and an adoration of luxury, Mary Alice Malone – the genius behind the brand – brings new life to staples. Flawlessly, she blends pops of color, ropes of suede as ankle straps, sleek lines evocative of equestrian gear (unsurprising, as she was a member of the Junior Olympic Equestrian Team as a youth), and exotic skins into soles that demand to be worn to work and to a ritzy soiree after. Simplicity doesn’t denote mediocrity and Malone Soulier’s not-so-basic basics seal the deal. We especially love the strappy peeptoes and the ankle booties.
Charkviani is a brand with modern aesthetics with an international twist, aiming to make their footwear collections wearable art. Their shoes are fit with fringes, ruffles, patent tortoiseshell leather, and thick ombre plexiglass heels, making the concept not for the faint of heart, but for the fiercest of the fierce. Having aided the shoe designs of Diesel, Chloe, John Richmond, and Kanye West, Charkviani is leading the charge to make their own name.
Dedicated to comfort and to style, Thoman Lieuvin is a brand that almost seems too good to be true. Fanciful and feminine, every minute detail of his collections – from the vamp zipper to the superfluously chic straps, from the combination of printed calf hair and vibrant leather – urges you to take a step out of your comfort zone and into a new, chic state of mind. Think of it as Alice waking up in a Technicolor Wonderland, where you are Alice and Technicolor Wonderland is Bergdorf Goodman.
After studying fashion design in Paris and learning the ropes from internships at Rupert Sanderson, Elie Saab and Christian Louboutin, Andrea Wazen launched her own namesake luxury shoe line. Her designs exude feminine elegance topped off with their own “distinct personality” which you can shop at her beautiful boutique in Beirut, Lebanon.
Candied apple sweet and Betty Page sassy, Poise Design is the perfect brand for the women who love a little (or a lot) of glitter to go with their electric pink, who love their pink loafers studded and their bows emblazoned with rhinestones. There is a very good chance that slipping into a pair of Poise Design’s shoes will make you feel like you’re playing a round of Pretty Pretty Princess, but when Cinderella herself would be jealous of your shoe collection, all you should feel is pride.
If this day and age in fashion has one singular runaway trend that has exploded with unforeseen popularity, it’s blending urban flair with uptown sophistication and that fierce combination is honed to a gorgeous leather point in the hands of newcomer Karen Gallo. If structured lines, a monochromatic color palette, and contemporary verve is a hint of the collections to come, we’re officially waiting with bated breath.
Inspired by the gorgeous vibrancy and intricacy of nature, Ffion Lloyd is a London-based footwear designer specializing in bringing atoms, crystals, cells, and other little-noticed microcosms to fashion life. She’s worked for Tom Ford, Sophia Webster, and Marc Jacobs, which only spells a positive future for her solo career. We personally can’t wait to see the stunning, mother nature-inspired collections she creates.
Written by Shannon Weston